Disclaimer: This questionnaire was not designed by Patriot’s Brigade of Tennessee. However, we felt that the questionnaire was very well-designed to educate voters about the views and values of each candidate.
Comments to the candidates: We extend our thanks to each candidate who was willing to take the time to thoughtfully respond to these requests. Whether or not we agree with your answers is only secondary; the main aspect is that you were willing to be transparent with the voters. By being willing to put yourself and your views “out there,” you have each earned our respect. Most candidates know that when they answer a hard or controversial question, they are sure to alienate those on the other side. However, you have shown that you have the character to “say what you mean, and mean what you say.” Sadly, most candidates are sorely lacking this quality.
Most candidates try to hide behind voter ignorance, and they campaign instead on their education, wealth, success in business, personality, good looks, friends and acquaintances, etc. We at Patriot’s Brigade know that these aspects are only secondary. Character is primary, and even where we might disagree with your answers, we have more respect for you and your character than for those who refuse to address the hard and sometimes controversial issues.
Comments to the voter: Patriot’s Brigade believes that government, yes even local government, has become too large, too complex, too expensive, and too partisan. It seems that attaining elected office is more about “who you know” than “what you know,” and as a result, most elected officials are woefully ignorant of even the elementary principles of a republic such as jurisdiction, separation of powers, federalism, role of the courts, etc. If the public is to see any change in government at any level, then the citizens must again assume control of the elections. The voters will have to invest the time to get to know the issues and the candidates, and then hold the successful candidates to their word, their issues, and their promises. If your favored candidates did not answer the questionnaire, then you should demand that they do so.
Some will say that the questionnaire is unimportant because public interviews and debates were held. Yes, we know that there were interviews and debates for some of the higher profile office. And we are glad to see these debates and forums are held. However, public interviews and debates rarely force candidates to deal with the most important topics: philosophical issues, moral issues and jurisdictional issues. Plus, in a debate format, we all know the feeling of having a candidate be given a very specific question and then have the candidate give a completely different answer, because the real answer would be embarrassing, politically incorrect, or simply because the candidate did not have any “talking points” or prepared statements from which to speak. It is time for the candidates to listen to the questions of the voters, rather than the voters being forced to listen to the politically correct answers of the candidates.
Therefore, we would recommend that you refuse to vote for those who refuse to disclose their views on moral issues, taxation, jurisdiction, education, philosophy, and the like.
Some may say that the questionnaire is too hard, or that some candidates may not even know what they believe about a particular topic. Perhaps that is so. If so, then is it so bad to force a candidate to think about and resolve issues that are unfamiliar? It seems to us that this is a regular part of the job for any elected official. So perhaps some do not know how they feel about an issue. A candidate should at least be honest about a lack of knowledge.
Therefore, we ask you, the voter – which is worse, a candidate not knowing his own view on a hard or controversial issue, or alternatively, a candidate who knows his view, while being unwilling to state his view openly? We’ll leave it up to the voters to decide the proper answer to this question.